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February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Time to brush up on your furry friends’ dental savvy

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“How do I brush my pet’s teeth?”

 February is National Pet Dental Health Month, designed to promote awareness of oral problems in dogs and cats.  Like humans, pets need dental care. The American Veterinary Medicine Association urges pet owners to have their furry friend’s mouths evaluated by a veterinarian and to create a specific home dental plan with a veterinarian.

More than just a cosmetic issue, bad breath and yellow teeth can be a sign of serious disease in our pets, which may affect their kidneys, livers, and hearts. Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets, and 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society.

Dr. Darlene Miller, associate veterinarian at the Animal Clinic of Billings, said dental healthcare for pets is an extremely important aspect of an animal’s overall health and wellbeing:

“Dogs and cats, not unlike humans, require routine dental care. Without dental care, plaque and calculus will build up under the gum line. Untreated, this can lead to the loss of most, if not all, the teeth over time.”

Dr. Miller said that along with regularly brushing your pet’s teeth with a specially designed toothbrush and providing him with a healthy diet and plenty of chew toys, pet owners can learn to recognize and check for mouth disorders, such as periodontal disease, gingivitis, and halitosis (bad breath) and seek help from their veterinarian. She added that there are also specially formulated dry foods that slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.

“In addition to at-home care,” said Dr. Miller, “most pets need their teeth cleaned from every six months to every four years.” She added that the best way to determine how often your pet needs a teeth cleaning is to have your veterinarian recommend a time frame.

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 Animal Clinic of Billings and Animal Surgery Clinic of Billings

Call 252-9499 to schedule an appointment today.